A total of nine tornadoes ripped through the Dallas-Fort Worth area Sunday, Oct. 20. Thankfully, there were no casualties as a result of these storms.

The strongest twister was an EF-3 that devastated much of northwest Dallas and Richardson. It leveled North Haven Gardens, a magnificent garden center that’s been in the neighborhood since 1951. Cody Hoya, general manager of North Haven Gardens, posted this message on social media and the IGC’s website:

“In spite of the severe damage we suffered during the recent North Texas tornado, North Haven Gardens has been in this location since 1951 — almost 69 years. We’ve rebuilt from adversity before, and this time will be no different.

We look forward to welcoming our many friends and patrons back soon for an ever better experience. While we’re rebuilding, please visit us on Facebook — tell us what you love about North Haven Gardens and what you would like to see improved during our renovation.

Thanks for being part of our family for so many years.”

I am so proud of the Pinkus family’s resolve, as well as their treasured employees, to rebuild. Their store is an oasis in the middle of a hurried and crowded city that has enjoyed close community ties across generations.

Even if you’re not in Tornado Alley, you still need to be prepared for a severe weather event, such as tornadoes, straight-line winds, large hail or flooding. Before a disaster strikes, create a preparedness and a continuity plan.

The Insurance Information Institute provides these considerations for small businesses:

Set up an emergency response plan and train employees how to carry it out. Make sure employees know whom to notify about the disaster and what measures to take to preserve life and limit property losses.

Write out each step of the plan and assign responsibilities to employees in clear and simple language. Practice the procedures set out in the emergency response plan with regular, scheduled drills.

Compile a list of important phone numbers and addresses. The list should include local and state emergency management agencies, major clients, contractors, suppliers, financial institutions, insurance agents and insurance company claim representatives.

Decide on a communications strategy to prevent loss of customers. Post notices outside your premises; contact clients by phone, email or regular mail.

Consider the things you may need initially during the emergency. Do you need a back-up source of power? Do you have a back-up communications system?

Keep duplicate records. Back-up computerized data files regularly and store them off-premises. Keep copies of important records and documents in a safe deposit box and make sure they’re up-to-date.

Review your insurance plan. Make sure you have sufficient coverage to pay for the indirect costs of the disaster — the disruption to your business — as well as the cost of repair or rebuilding. New additions or improvements should also be reflected in your policy.

krodda@gie.net

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